Post-COVID Trauma and Violence: How will the Church Respond?

Reports are emerging that 2021 is proving to be one of the deadliest years in history, noting a 66% rise in gun sales and record-breaking statistics regarding gun violence. As we seek ways to “return to normalcy” post COVID-19, how should we respond to trauma and the consequences of isolation, anger, and political/cultural turmoil.

Here are two articles to consider:

2020 Was the Deadliest Gun Violence Year in Decades. So far, 2021 is Worse“, by TheBault, Fox, and Ba Tran. Washington Post.

“In January and February of 2021, people bought more guns than they did during either month of any previous year in which such purchases were recorded. In January alone, about 2.5 million guns were sold, the third-highest one-month total, behind only June and July of 2020…A large body of research shows gun availability increases the relative risk of fatal shootings, and Buggs co-wrote a study last year that found an association between firearm purchases that spring and a statistically significant increase in firearm violence.”

We Need to Remember the Scars of Our Trauma in a Post-Pandemic World“, by Laura Ellis, Baptist News Global.

“The immense loss and inability to mourn is palpable, and we know that these remnants of anxiety and grief do not merely disappear once the world reopens its doors. Rather, as we enter into this new time of partial liberation, we carry with us these wounds that have not been given the luxury to properly heal. Some of them are still gaping open, while others are uncomfortably glazed with thick layers of scar tissue.

“As we enter into this new time of partial liberation, we carry with us these wounds that have not been given the luxury to properly heal.”

In this time, I am reminded of Jesus’ resurrected body, which still bore the scars of crucifixion. We can learn something from the fact that Jesus did not return in his pre-crucified body. His body could not be the same one he had before the event of crucifixion. Rather, it showed evidence of the ordeal because his scars could not be erased.”

How can the Church serve as a place of healing and restoration?

Critical Race Theory and other Nonsense

My opinion is worth a hill of beans, but since people are asking for it, I’ll give it.

Several people have asked me about Critical Race Theory in the past week. They are concerned as what they perceive as a socialist or “liberal” agenda in education and culture. When I ask them to define it, they really aren’t sure what Critical Race Theory is other than to repeat a few platitudes they hear from cable news.

I ask them if they have any experience with the complexity of race and race relations outside of what they see on said cable news. Some have great stories to tell, but most don’t.

I ask how their experiences relate to Critical Race Theory, and they don’t have an answer.

It seems that the only people talking about Critical Race Theory are the people on cable news.

I don’t know anything about Critical Race Theory–never heard of it, in fact–although I have been enmeshed in race and gender studies for the last 20 years. Which tells me one thing: Critical Race Theory is bologna. Those who discuss it as if they know what they’re talking about are full of bologna.

In fact, if you get right down to it, the only people talking about it are people who want to divide Americans. They only want to fear-monger to draw more viewers to their talk-shows. They only want to distract from real issues that are complicated, and they want to convince you that “theories” on the margins of society are widespread just like ole’ McCarthy claimed there were communists under every rock.

Let me be even more clear: The only people talking about this come from people who only want one thing: more money based on viewers and advertisers: Fox News and CNN, both of which are not real news sources. In a recent litigation regarding a lawsuit, in fact, Fox News lawyers claimed that Fox News is an entertainment channel, not a news channel.

For the Lord spoke thus to me while his hand was strong upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: ‘Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”

Isaiah 8:11-13

If you get your “news” about race theories from an entertainment channel, then what does that say about us as a society?

So what is Critical Race Theory? I don’t know. It is a distraction maybe, likely used to take get people riled up. It intends to confuse people about real issues regarding race and race reconciliation.

It bates conversations so people can’t have conversations. Consider this: Because you spend more time watching cable television than reading your Bible, if I bring up race or even say the word “race” in church, people will think that I am talking about Critical Race Theory. They will say, “That pastor believes in Critical Race Theory.” Then I will be fired because Fox News teaches people that people who talk about race are socialists, liberals, or communists.

So we can’t talk about race, because cable news is framing the conversation in an “us vs. them” format. And if we can’t talk about race, then we can’t talk about real issues that need to get resolved. I can no longer speak freely from the pulpit because you beholden me to your favorite pundits. Do pundits really provide us the standard of what we can and can’t talk about? I’m afraid so.

So please don’t ask me about Critical Race Theory. Its nonsense.

Let’s talk about real issues, like real estate and how people of color still struggle getting the same interest rates on home loans as white folk. Or redlining, let’s discuss that.

Let’s talk about medical care where inequities still exist.

Let’s talk about education–not made up of nonsense by the likes of governors–but real education in which we make it our goal to have young people think critically and understand historical context rather than to push far-left and far-right agendas.

Let’s talk about how people of color can’t walk into a store without being followed by managers and store clerks. Or about how self-deputized HOA presidents in communities where there are no HOAs say that they are only applying outdated HOA rules so that “those people” don’t put an offer on your neighbor’s house. Let’s talk about real things like that. (And those two instances are just from my personal experiences.)

Let’s talk about Jesus.

If you quote Tucker Carlson more than Jesus, we have a problem.

If you bring hostility to the conversation more than a sense of hospitality in which you are more concerned about stating your opinion than saving souls, we have a problem.

If you make stuff up because you have to protect your pride than see that real problems exist, we have a problem.

If you want to talk about facts and figures rather than political talking points or divisive propaganda, then let’s do that.